By Janee Law
Northport Village officials on Dec. 16 released a tentative $20.4 million budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year that includes a cap-piercing increase in the tax levy of 3.27 percent.
The proposed budget would be about $450,000 more than the current fiscal year and would increase the tax rate by 2.93 percent. If approved, it would raise taxes to $65.14 per $100 of assessed property value. Taxes would go up $1.86 per $100 of property value.
The tentative budget’s biggest expenses are home and community service, at $5.8 million, and public safety at $5.4 million.
Home and community service includes expenses for the sewer upgrade, while public safety includes salaries of the village’s police department, such as temporary officers, crossing guards and emergency dispatchers.
While the cap by law is 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less, New York State established that the rate of inflation for the village is 0.45 percent.
“That’s just unrealistically low,” Tobin said. “We have a barebones budget and each year we’ve risked cutting into bone and muscle.”
If the tax cap is not pierced, Tobin said the village will not have enough money to provide the necessary services, which include police, fire, sewer, highway, parks and regulatory services such as zoning, planning, architectural, building inspection, public safety, etc.
Tobin added that some of these increases are contractual or offset by specific revenue, adding that most of the expenses for home and community service will be “covered by a financing assistance loan” from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corp.
“The mayor and we on the board and the village treasurer have worked very hard to keep taxes as low as possible,” Tobin said. “We prefer there was no increase at all, but we also feel we must provide services that the village expects.”
Officials are scheduled to vote on the tentative budget at the Jan. 5, 2016 public meeting.